Fabric inspiration can be found in everyday life
Furniture Today Staff -- Furniture Today, September 16, 2013
HIGH POINT - It's the upholstery world's equivalent of the chicken and egg debate. If fabric dictates style trends, what trends dictate fabric?
"We look at a lot of things for influence," said Randy Rubin, one of the founders of fabric source Crypton. "You immerse yourself in everyday life. A friend said, ‘Look at women's nail polish; it's not natural anymore.' Consumers are playing with color, and you see it in very unexpected places. It's a way for people to show their individuality."
"The inspiration begins with the intuition, the perception and with the idea of being open on what the market needs," said Cecilia Martinez, head designer at Adesal Jacquards. "With each collection, we start with a subject that serves as inspiration to create. For example, in this new collection, we decided to appraise the ‘handmade.' We really think that nothing equals the gesture and the wealth of the artisanal."
Color and pattern have been the darlings of upholstery designers in recent markets. And while some ponder whether distinctive fabrics will translate into retail dollars, textile suppliers have already addressed their own "must have" checklists.
"We know that to be successful we have to address many demographics," said Cathy Smith, director of design and merchandising at De Leo Textiles, speaking for the design team at the company.
"We keep our core customer - the middle to high-end furniture manufacturers - in mind as our primary target while adding some designs or colors that will also appeal to the more niche customers. We focus on the consumers' needs for each category and allow that to influence our design choices. This allows us to be more creative and fashion-forward, taking some intelligent risks to reach for the next best thing," Smith said.
Rubin said fabric suppliers must update bodycloths to keep their lines contemporary while also adding the unique range of textures and colors that provide a fresh look to each season's collections.
"From the industry side, there is a lot of playing it safe," she said. "But we approach it from the viewpoint of ‘if it's brown, then let's change the value of the brown.' It's subtle change, changing it a little bit here or there. It still drills down to the core colors. It's more evolution than revolution."
"Each fabric that integrates our collection passes through many corrections and inspections of color, style and structure," Martinez said. "One of the things we do is test the sample on a sofa to evaluate the scale, the hand and also whether it will be resistant to pets."
Consumers are more concerned about stain resistance and durability than ever before, according to Rubin.
"Furniture/Today had a survey with 3,500 consumers and these consumers listed stain resistance as a top priority," Rubin said. "That woke up a lot of people and the industry started paying attention. The bottom line is that consumers are looking for a performance story that doesn't cost too much and that lends itself to a beautiful solid. Designers get it, and there is a slow shift underway in the industry."
with brights like
orange and red
drama in this
vignette from the
|The Vibrant fabric on
rainbow hues from
the fashion world.|
|Blue has become a mainstream color
for fashion items like nail polish, and
in upholstery, as seen in this Jackson
Catnapper sofa during the summer
Tupelo Furniture Market.|
and pale green
accents create a
for the Sunset Plaza
chesterfield sofa by